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Monday, November 30, 2015

THE GAME OF LIFE


THE GAME OF LIFE
A post Thanksgiving look back on life.

When I was a kid, we use to play a board game, “The Game of Life.”  I don’t remember much about how it was played, I do remember the basics.

Before the game you chose what your goals were.  You could win so many points for wealth, fame or happiness.  As young snots, most of the time we all chose money to win, with a small percentage of our goal being fame.  I guess we sort of assumed that with money and fame, happiness would follow.

I am currently in the fourth quarter of the real game of life.  If my goal was riches, I lose.  If my goal was fame, I lose big time.  In the real game, my goal was mostly happiness.  It takes some degree of wealth to obtain security and happiness, but wealth was never a primary goal.

It is not yet time to tally the score, but I think I have done pretty well.  I know many people who succeeded very well in the wealth category, but I’m not sure they are all that happy.  I know or know of many who have topped the chart in the fame category who seem to be pretty miserable. 

I also know some people who have kicked ass in both wealth and fame and I have to say are damn happy, so I have not and probably will not win the game. 

You would think that with two divorces I would be pretty low in the wealth and happiness score, and fame is just about zero, but though the divorces cut my wealth points in half twice, I have managed enough to secure some semblance of security, and that is really all you need to not have a deduction in the happiness points.  The divorces have also bailed me out of unhappy relationships, even relationships that I was not aware of how unhappy they really were.

In adding up points, I can’t compete with everyone, there are so many people that are successful on many levels, but I think I have still done pretty well.

I am reasonably healthy.  I can still do one pushup for every year I have managed to stay above ground.   I currently have a great relationship on many levels with Mrs. Cranky.  I can still score under 100 in golf, and bowl above a 180 average.  I have self-published two crappy books, but I enjoyed doing so.  I publish in this blog daily, and that earns me ½ a fame point.  I have four children who are healthy and reasonably happy and successful themselves. I have five happy healthy wonderful grandchildren.  I have a great family in my brother, sister-in-laws, niece, nephews and a bunch of cousins.  I have a few friends who are true friends.  I was blessed with terrific parents, grandparents, a super older brother and wonderful aunts and uncles who are no longer with me.  
I quit drinking and smoking, but do enjoy an occasional glass of wine and a good cigar.  I play guitar just well enough to enjoy it in the privacy of my own man cave.  I even have two step children that I get to enjoy and take pride in, even though I can claim no credit for their accomplishments.

In the Milton Bradley “Game of Life” I have not reached my unreasonable goals of fame and wealth, but in the real game, so far, despite many setbacks, I think I have played pretty well and have obtained a great many  points. 

Of course having the dice come up with good numbers helps.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

YOUR BABY CAN’T READ - a cranky re-run

YOUR BABY CAN’T READ
A dumb commercial a few years back set off this rant, the commercial is gone, the rant may still be valid.  It is from November 2011
Parents have an obsession with making their children the best that they can be.  Pregnant women play classical music to their developing embryo in an attempt to give their child-to-be a head start in music ability and appreciation.  Every toy sold to children from new born to teen has some educational/developmental aspect.  Colors, numbers, letters, words, animals, sounds, textures, every toy tries to disguise learning with play.  When children do not use the toy for its intended educational purpose, parents jump right in to demonstrate the correct way to play and learn.


Children today have tutors to teach them to read before they reach kindergarten.   Children are taught karate and other martial arts in the name of self-esteem and self defense before they go to school.  Parents send their young athletes to sports trainers and sports facilities to gain an advantage over their budding young competition.  Parents today are panicked that they will not help their children to develop to their fullest potential.          


Parents please……RE-FUCKING-LAX!!


Your child will learn to read when he is good and ready.  She will be a natural athlete if she was born a natural athlete.  Your little genius will be a math whiz and will invent world altering stuff without your constant prodding and fretting their whole life.


If they ask for help, if they show an unusual talent, if they exhibit an aptitude in a given direction, help them.  Get them lessons.  Buy that guitar.  Embrace their talents, give them opportunities to grow in many directions, but don’t force them to do or learn stuff in competition with your niece, the kids around the block, or the children of the braggadocios annoying lady at church. 


Your children will find their niche.  Water will always seek its own level.  When pushed, children will drag their feet, they will shut down, and they will burn out. 


Given encouragement and a little help children will thrive.  You cannot hide genius.  If you locked a five year old Beethoven in a closet with a spoon, twelve glasses and a bottle of water he would emerge with a symphony.


What started this tirade was a commercial I have been seeing on late night TV.  It is the “Your Baby Can Read” commercial.  This scam asserts that with their flash cards and constant prodding you can teach a one or two year old child to read.  The ad shows dozens of kids all under three reading from the flash cards.  These children are reading, smiling, and laughing and the parents are beaming.  I knew this ad was bull crap when one of the two year olds read, with perfect word use inflection, the word “OUTSTANDING.” PAALEEZE!!


Your baby can be taught to mimic a word on a flash card.  Your baby CAN’T read. 


My dog can bark, roll over and play dead on command. 


Your baby CAN’T read.


You can guide your children, you can’t mold them.  They will learn to do shit when they are ready.  They need to build muscles and coordination in order to walk.  They need to learn sounds and experiment with them in order to talk.  They do these things on their own schedule.  You can retard growth; you cannot speed it up.  Children need tools, direction, and encouragement and they will learn.


You can spend your day with flash cards, videos, and books.  You can knock yourself out for months 24/7 with these flash cards.  Your baby may learn to say “Outstanding” when she sees that card.  She will say it with the exact inflection as you say it to her.  My Parrot can do the same thing.  My parrot can’t read.


Your baby CAN’T read!    

STUPID HEADLINES 112915


STUPID HEADLINES 112915

It is time again for
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY


This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments.  

________________________


DARPA's latest project? A brain implant capable of restoring lost memories – Or changing memories…I’m pretty sure this was a movie on the SciFy channel.

John Kerry: ISIS 'not 10 feet tall' – Well in some cases they are censored and censored censored their censored. (This comment has been severely censored due to it being way too insensitive. It was kinda funny though)


Scientists create mosquito strain with malaria-blocking genes – So when you go to the doctor and he has a mosquito bite you, relax it is just an immunization bite.

Man holds up two stores using only a windshield snow brush – There is a push to ban snow brushes, but the NSBA says, “If you take away the snow brushes, only the criminals will have them.


University suspends yoga class, citing 'cultural issues' that may offend students – Yoga never bothered me, but Calculus sure offended the heck outta me!

The king of Sweden doesn't want you to bathe – Where was he when I was four?

Why did this ambassador swim across the Nile? – Duh, to get to the other side.

Drunk Russian sailor crashes 7,000-ton ship into Scotland -- at full speed – The ship had to be scrapped, but no one was kilt.

Florida police bust elderly women's mahjong game – A “Little Old Ladies Lives Matter” rally will be held on Tuesday.


Woman knits mini sweaters to keep her chickens warm I’ve never heard them called that before.


People having sex with horses is on the rise in Switzerland* – Apparently in Switzerland Neigh doesn’t mean Neigh!


Bacon-Scented Undies Mean All Your Panty Problems Are Cured – Instead of smoking after sex you have an urge for a cup of coffee.


Winner Of 'Mr. Ugly' Pageant Accused Of Being Not Ugly Enough – I’m not sure, is that a compliment?


North Korea tested submarine-launched missile, but launch failed: report – Kim Jung-Oops!

Man who pushed button on failed North Korea missile launch is scheduled to ride missile on next test – OK, that one is a fake…maybe.



*Thx Marty!

_______________________________


Come back next week for more:




STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

LET’s HEAR IT FOR THE MUSLIMS


LET’s HEAR IT FOR THE MUSLIMS
A cranky opinion for

CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY

The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little knowledge of the subject opined.  Opposing views are welcome but will be ignored.  As always, please no name calling, that means you, you big stupid-head!

There is a common criticism toward Muslims with respect to the terrorist acts that Al Qaeda, ISIS and other groups commit using the Muslim religion to legitimatize their despicable acts.  The criticism is the loud silence from the Muslim community.              

Although there have been some Muslim leaders who disavow terrorist acts and condemn them, overwhelmingly there has been silence.  The silence is understandable given the brutality of the terrorists. I suspect there has been a very reasonable fear in the Muslim community of horrible retribution to anyone that speaks against the terrorists.

The silence seems to be changing.  Muslims are beginning to speak out against the terrorists.  I believe the ripple of criticism from the Muslim community will crescendo into a tidal wave of criticism and anger against the terrorists that are trying to hijack Islam.


These Islamic terrorists use fear and intimidation to force their perverted ideology on the world.  Fear and intimidation is very effective until what people are feeling and experiencing is as frightening as what they fear.  At that point even the timid fight back.

I believe we are seeing the start of that fight back.  Voices are being raised; the #Notinmyname Facebook and Twitter campaign is gathering steam.  As the number of voices being raised against Islamic terrorists increases exponentially, terrorist intimidation will decrease, terrorist recruitment and indoctrinating will diminish, and we will see defections in the terrorist camps.


It will be slow in the beginning, but if true Muslims continue to stand up for their faith, the terrorists will be defeated.  In fact it is the only way this perversion will truly be eradicated.  Bombs and bullets can snuff out infernos, but it will take the voices of true Muslims to stamp out all the embers.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

THE TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING TURKEY - a cranky re-run re-run

THE TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING TURKEY
Third time around, but it's been a while

Thanksgiving is around the corner and with it come many traditions.  The universal Thanksgiving tradition of course is the Thanksgiving turkey.  We will have turkey as usual this Thanksgiving, but the tradition will not be the same as I remember in my youth.


When I was a child, Thanksgiving at our house held many traditions. 


The first was the traditional non-complete thawing of the bird.  Mom always bought the bird frozen.  She took it out to thaw the day before Thanksgiving.  The day before Thanksgiving was never long enough to completely thaw a 20 pound turkey.


The second tradition was the traditional four o’clock dinner being delayed until 7 o’clock because the bird was not completely thawed.  This delay was fine in that it allowed the men (everyone except mom) to watch the end of the traditional NFL football game, and the traditional trouncing of the Detroit Lions by the Bears, Packers, or Cowboys.  When dinner was ready at last, everyone was traditionally starving to death.


Despite the dinner delay, mom’s turkey was traditionally delicious.  It was never dry, never overcooked.


Along with turkey we had mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut (it was a German thing), green beans in mushroom soup mix, creamed oysters, cranberry sauce (from the can), peas, crescent rolls, gravy and mom’s special stuffing.  All this food was spread over the finest tablecloth which was adorned with silver ware, a silver gravy boat, pepper shaker and salt.  The salt was dispensed from a traditional silver tray with a cobalt blue glass insert and a tiny silver spoon.  (My Aunt Nancy once explained the reason the insert had to be cobalt blue, I don’t remember, but there is a reason.)  We never had salad, instead there was a cut glass bowl shaped perfectly to hold celery and carrot sticks.  In addition to water and wine, everyone, even the under aged family members had a glass of Taylor’s Sparkling Burgundy.


We all always dressed up for the Traditional turkey dinner which meant coats and ties.  We sat well dressed, well scrubbed, and well starving around all the food and finery, dad at the head of the table, as my mom marched in with the star of the show, the crispy skinned golden brown turkey.


The house was filled with turkey aroma as the bird was placed in front of my father.  Stomachs rumbling, we watched in awe as the traditional carving of the bird began. 


Dad started the process by slowly and than in ever increasing speed clinking the knife with the sharpener like an Errol Flynn sword fight.  When he was done, he plucked a non-existent hair from his bald pate and faked splitting the fake hair down the middle.  Everyone laughed at this traditional carver’s joke, a joke done by my grandfather, and his father before him.


My father never stood up to carve the bird, he remained seated and in control.  First he cut the wings, then the legs and thighs, placing them on a separate plate.  He went on to cut the breast, saving a bit of the crispy skin for everyone. The oyster, the juicy dark meat under the bird behind the thigh was saved for the master carver. Each serving was cut to order.  “White, dark, or a little of both?” was asked of everyone.  


Each plate was then passed around and covered with potatoes, beans, creamed oysters and rolls. It was finally placed in front of a starving family member who was forced to wait until everyone at the table was served.  Each diner waited eagerly in front of his dish like a dog commanded to stay…stay…stay…until the last member had a plate in front of him and mom nodded her head; there was an eight second blessing, and we were all turned loose.    


The ensuing carnage was followed with pie (choice of apple, pumpkin or mince) and vanilla ice cream (Breyer’s with the specks of vanilla bean).


Thanksgiving weekend was celebrated with more football, and the traditional turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce and stuffing sandwiches.


Thanksgivings have changed since the dinners of my youth. The finery at the table is not quite as fine, the dinner is on time and the end of the Detroit Lions mismatch is missed.  I carve the bird before the family is called to the table.  I carve standing up and with much grunting, sweating and occasional swearing.  The traditional carver’s skill was not passed on to me. 


Dinner is served buffet style.  Family members are still starved, dress is less formal and the agonizing carving wait is gone.


The turkey is still traditionally moist and delicious, and I am still traditionally thankful for the friends and family that enjoy it together.


Happy Thanksgiving everybody.                  

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Wrangler Wave



The Wrangler Wave


In 1955, my pops bought a VW Bug.  A tiny car with only 32 horsepower, there were very few “Bugs” on the road.  The Bug was kind of ugly and its performance on the road a little lacking, but owners all loved their VW Bugs.  When you passed or saw another of these then rare Bugs, you always gave the horn a quick beep, beep which was almost always returned.

Even in 1968 when I bought my VW Bug, the beep, beep was customary.  I think by 1970 when there were about ten billion bugs on the road the friendly beep, beep tradition finally ended.

I currently drive a Jeep Wrangler.  The Wrangler is also a somewhat ugly vehicle with some unpleasant road handling features, yet Wrangler owners love their car the same way owners used to love their VW Bugs.  When a Wrangler passes another Wrangler it is customary to give a three finger wave.  It is a very simple slight lift from the steering wheel.  Some drivers give a two finger peace sign wave.  I have owned a Wrangler since 1992, and I insist the proper wave is the three finger “W sign” wave.  However I let it go, as long as I get any wave back response.

Lately I have a different issue with the Jeep wave.  Several years ago Jeep came out with a four door Wrangler.  I have nothing against the four door Wrangler, but it is large enough that packing and space is not a problem, and I suspect it does not feel like a truck on the highway like the traditional Wrangler does.  The four door Wrangler seems like just the Jeep Liberty disguised as a Wrangler.

The four door looks exactly like a two door Wrangler when it is coming at you.  Because of this and the short time you have to identify the four door before it zips by I often give the traditional Wrangler wave.  The four door Wrangler usually returns the wave and sometimes initiates it.

I hate that!

I don’t feel the four door is a real Wrangler and does not rate the Wrangler wave.

What can I say, I’m a purist. 

We never did the beep, beep to a VW Bus.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

WOMEN AND “DATES” - a cranky re-run

WOMEN AND “DATES”
This cranky re-run is from November 2011



Women put a great deal of importance on dates.  They know all the “important” dates, not just Holidays.  Women know birthdays, the date someone passed away, and anniversaries of every type.  Women remember every anniversary.  They remember Wedding anniversaries, first date anniversaries, one month “anniversaries” six month “anniversaries”, the anniversary of their first kiss, there is not a date that women will not remember.


Men remember holidays.  They remember their wedding anniversary (well maybe not the first one) and they sometimes even remember their wife’s birthday.  Beyond those special days men place very little importance on “dates.”


I sort of know my children’s birthdays.  Matt and Mary Beth were born around Labor Day.  Labor Day changes every year so remembering the exact date is just not fair.  Mike was born at the end of June.  Hmmm…thirty days has September, April, May, and (or is it June).  Mike was born either June 30 or June 31.  Spencer was born in early February, the eighth or ninth.  I think.  My brother Chris was born one day before my birthday, so that one is easy.  My brother Jim was born in the summer….I think the fifteenth of one of the summer months. I am not sure of my mother’s birthday, or my father’s birthday, or their wedding anniversary, or the days they passed away.


Most women are horrified by men’s not knowing these various dates.  They associate not knowing or caring to remember dates as not caring about the person.  “You don’t care enough to even remember ……..”


I assure you, I love all my children and grandchildren.  I know they were born, I remember their first words and their first steps.  I remember their successes and their failures.  I care.  I just don’t remember the dates.


I loved my parents.  I just could not tell you when they were born or when they passed away.  I was sad when they passed away.  I am sad today when I think of them.  I don’t remember those dates, I assure you I care.


Women get angry that men forget important dates.  The truth is men don’t forget these dates, we never knew them in the first place.  When each of my children was born, the moment was seared in my memory.  The date?  Not so much. 


Women, please stop the “date” hysterics.  Stop the smugness because you remember the exact date.  Caring to remember a date is not a measurement of caring.  I will bet any amount of money that my ex-wives could tell you the exact day and time our divorces became official.  I have to stop and think of the year.  I assure you I care about the event; I just don’t put much importance on the when. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

STUPID HEADLINES 112215


STUPID HEADLINES 112215

It is time again for
But...never mind
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY

This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments.  

________________________

Court sticks taxpayers with Jerry Sandusky’s pension tab – You have got to be kidding me!  Sorry, that may be a bad choice of words.

Mini driver wins Guinness parallel parking record – Why do they have a separate record for little people?

Teen Could Face Charges for Assault with a Deadly Carrot It could have ended very badly, but the victim fended the attack off with a  broccoli stalk.

Unruly’ passenger restrained after incident on British Airways plane to Boston – What, they’ve never seen a Red Sock fan before? (It’s just a joke Suldog.)

Tyson recalls 52K pounds of cooked chicken wings for adulteration – Wow, who knew the ex-champ was that kinky!

Police chief gives himself ticket after accidentally parking in handicap spot – Well, now I’m thinking maybe he is handicapped.

Mizzou, Black Lives protesters say Paris attacks took spotlight – Paris called; you can have your spotlight back.

Scientists teach pigeons to detect cancer – Now if they could only teach them to not peck the patients to death.

No more sex at Abercrombie & Fitch. Stock soars. – At least something is rising.

Man begs for money after risky bet implodes – I’m sure if his gamble hit big he would have shared his profits.

Michael Moore offers to house Syrian refugees – Except Muslims will not live with pigs. (Oh relax; Michael Moore says nasty sarcastic shit all the time.)

Georgia mom, 21, finishes college exam while in labor – She delivered a daughter, said she would take a D but was hoping for a B.

_______________________________

Come back next week for more:



STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

THE MASTERMIND


THE MASTERMIND
A cranky opinion for

CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY

The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little knowledge on the subject opined.  Opposing views are welcome but will be ignored.  As always, please no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head!

NOUN:  A person with an outstanding intellect.

VERB: Plan and direct an ingenious and complex scheme or enterprise.

Why does the media insist of referring to the leader of the cowardly massacre in Paris as the “Mastermind?”

Do we have any indication this person is of outstanding or superior intellect?

Were the murders a result of a complex enterprise?

Hmmm as a mastermind, how could I murder a whole bunch of people?  Let’s see, give me several people who don’t give a crap about their own life, strap explosives on them and then have them walk into a crowd and blow themselves up. GENIUS!

AND

Give me some other assholes who are in a hurry to go to heaven and meet their virgins, arm them with assault rifles and have them just indiscriminately strafe pedestrians and patrons of restaurants.  GENIUS!

I’m pretty sure any dope with one eyebrow and a strap-on beard could devise such a plan.  He need not be someone of outstanding intellect and the plan is not all that ingenious and complex.  Why do we insist on calling the planners Masterminds and the plan the result of a Mastermind?

Does the media want to glorify these ignorant backward scumbags?

Is it the intent of the media to make us all think, “Oh how can we ever defeat these people when they are run by MASTERMINDS?

Please people in the media, could we stop saying “The Paris Mastermind is still loose.”  Lex Luthor, Superman’s nemesis, was a Mastermind; The Riddler and the Penguin were Masterminds who tormented Batman, these people are just murderers of unarmed, unsuspecting, everyday people.  Their only motive is to kill and scare. It does not take superior intellect to do that.  You just take a gun and shoot, or a knife and cut. 

Was Lee Harvey Oswald a Mastermind? Was Charles Manson a Mastermind?  Was James Earl Ray a Mastermind? Was Sirhan SIrhan a Mastermind? How about that post office nut who took a rifle on a tower and shot people, or those two clowns who terrorized the Washington area with a high power rifle from the trunk of their car, or “Jack the Ripper,” were all these people MASTERMINDS?

I think they are just demented ignorant shitheads. 

I would like to see media stop the Mastermind nonsense and instead announce:

“Paris murdering demented ignorant shithead still at large…news at eleven!”*

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky (Though I’m pretty sure she agrees.)

*Since this was written the Mastermind demented ignorant shithead was sent to meet his virgins...I'm guessing he was sincerely disappointed.